A program of piano music by Bach and Beethoven
“Masterpieces are irreplaceable with their timelessness. I still clearly remember when, for the first time, I heard a couple of bars in the last movement of Beethoven’s Opus 109 – it was about 20 years ago, and I felt deeply touched and captured at that moment... It was something truly indescribable to me.
I have always believed that I should only record pieces of music to which I feel strongly attached. I felt that this composition would grow as if it were an extension of my own musical language.
It is now very clear to me that Opus 109 will always be the music to accompany me through all the ups and downs of life, and the same is also true for Opus 111. It has to be admitted that I totally fell in love with the variations to be found in Opus 111.
I desperately wanted to be part of that particular world encompassed by the fragile and sublime colours which are to be found between the “pp” and “ppp” (“very quiet” and “extremely quiet”) parts of the work, which permeate the whole special atmosphere.
It seems as if one is being driven towards infinity – somehow it might even take one to a sublime place without conflicts, pain and evil.“ (Haiou Zhang)
The magazine Pizzicato praises Haiou Zhang's powerful attack, his spontaneity as well as his good feeling for the improvisational boldness of Beethoven. Abstract and concrete at the same time, his performance strikes a balance between the purely playful and technical and the expressive, between brooding and restlessness.
This album was recorded on a C. Bechstein concert grand D 282 at the Ölbergkirche Studio in Berlin in October 2020.
Total Song: 9 songs
Duration: 1 hr 7 mins
Label: Hänssler Classic
Format: CD, Album
Pianist: Haiou Zhang
Piano: C.Bechstein D282
PIANIST MAGAZIN issue June 2021
The year 2020, marked by uncertainties and restrictions, made many of us realise once again which of the many things in our lives are really important to us. The corona pandemic also left a deep personal impression on Haiou Zhang; he has processed his impressions in his new album with the programmatic title "My 2020”.
What is impressive is the amount of emotion and expression to be found in the choice of Beethoven's late sonatas Opus 109 and Opus 111; the Chinese pianist has chosen works in which a multitude of human emotions compete somewhere between being a burdensome passion, strict discipline and cheerful serenity. Zhang abandons himself to his infallible intuition and combines joy in playing and finds sense in the rugged structural runs in a demanding programme, whose centre of gravity is quite clearly the Arietta, in the final C minor Sonata. With two Bach arrangements and the concluding Für Elise, Zhang returns to a state of inner calm - occasionally loosened up by the opening movement cadenza from Beethoven's 4th piano concerto that exudes impatient confidence and a certain longing to be back on stage.
CD REVIEW by FANFARE Magazine
"If the opening was like Moses uneasily parting the Red Sea, then the rest of the sonata is like that sea closing behind him, and composer and artist together moving forward as one, not looking back. From Variation 3 to the end, something beyond clinical propriety has taken control. The stratospheric triplets, like shattering glass, the trills that seem as though they will run on forever, lead us not to music but into another dimension, the realm of the uneasy perfection that is Beethoven. In the next to last page of the score, there are three worlds unfolding—the descant heights, a simple theme, the treble line dropped into the left hand—and Zhang blends them all in a standout conclusion."